Published in October 2012
"TRUTH: The Brotherhood"
When Tony and Sammy Nichols cross the barrier of an off-limits staircase to the upper floors of an historic inn in Sheridan, WY, they find themselves witnessing a murder. When their curiosity brings them back and they try it again, they find themselves in an alternate universe; Sherman, WY, sixty-four years earlier. The people they meet in Sherman are very helpful to their predicament – at least they appear to be – until their father, Bill, goes to look for them, and they all end up in the basement of a church, locked in cages.
While imprisoned, Bill and his boys eventually discover the people of Sherman believe the travelers from the future who suddenly appear at the Sherman Inn without explanation are Tempters of Hades and they must be held captive and put through an extraordinary test to prove or disprove their alliance to the devil. Only one captive has ever survived.
Back at the Sheridan Inn, the owner can do nothing but explain to their mother, Lora, where her sons and her husband have gone, and inform her that no one has ever returned once they’ve disappeared from the second floor. Can Lora convince her mother and her remaining children to leave life as they know it to search for the rest of their family, or will Tony, Sammy, and their father be left to their own devices to escape certain death?
“TRUTH ~ The Brotherhood,” is a novel that immerses you in a reality that will take you back to a time that you just might believe exists. You’ll want to visit the inn and see if you can discover Sherman, WY, for yourself and find out what life is like in that alternate reality, sixty-four years in the past.
Copyright © 2012 by TM Olson. All rights reserved.
“It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph.”
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
~H. P. Lovecraft
Tony used to think cowboys still rode horses to town and townsfolk used horse-drawn carriages to get around in the wild, Wild West of Wyoming when he was growing up, that was, until his family moved there.
The first time he saw a cow, his mother stopped the car, shouting, “look, kids, a prairie elk,” as she and his oldest sister jumped out of the car fumbling for their old Browning camera to take a picture of a cow. Not even a bull. A bull would have at least made a little more sense considering it had horns, but no, just a cow. Big udders and all.
How could anyone not know what a cow looked like?
His mother didn’t, and his sister didn’t. Probably because they moved from New York to Wyoming in the year 1959, when Tony was only ten years old. He’d never seen a real live cow before, either, but he knew what one looked like, and he was absolutely certain what his mother took a picture of that day wasn’t a prairie elk. Even if there were a slight possibility prairie elk also looked like cows, he knew there wasn’t any such thing in all the books he’d read at school.
He also learned that Russia and the US were racing for space, shooting up rockets and satellites right and left, and a little stretchy naughty looking thing called pantyhose was first introduced that year. That was probably why his father couldn’t keep his prick in his pants, which was why they moved, by the way.
It was either a divorce, which was unheard of in those days, or move as far away from the home wrecker as possible. So, his Dad headed for the Wild West in search of himself and his responsibilities and ended up in Wyoming. Tony, his Mom, and his four siblings waited until his Dad sent for them to join him. They all flew to Wyoming on a United Airlines DC-3 with twin props, while everything else went in a truck cross-country. The plane trip took twelve hours, the truck, three days. Grandma and Grandpa came along, too. In the plane, of course. Although, after riding in a plane for twelve hours with her husband’s parents, Tony’s Mom would have rather had them packed in the truck, for her sanity’s sake.
They eventually settled in, and a couple of great aunts moved to Wyoming the next year. It became a regular extended family affair. Though, try as she might, Tony’s Mom could not convince her parents to leave New York.
Tony didn’t find out about his father’s affair until many years later when he went snooping through some boxes in the attic and found the correspondence between his mother and father written over the course of the move. How his Dad was so sorry for everything and how his Dad couldn’t wait to be reunited with his Mom, Tony, and his siblings. How his Mom forgave his Dad and hoped they could have a fresh new start in the big, beautiful state of Wyoming.
Wyoming was about two-thirds high desert plain and the other third gorgeous green valleys surrounded by beautiful mountains and lush green hills. Thankfully, they ended up in one of the valleys. Sheridan to be exact. Named after the Union Calvary leader, in the American Civil War, Philip Sheridan. Tony had no idea who Philip Sheridan was back then and after living there for most of his life, he still didn’t.
But he did know who Buffalo Bill Cody was and he also knew Buffalo Bill used to audition talent for his Wild West show right off the front porch of the Sheridan Inn. That was about the coolest claim to fame Tony could remember Sheridan having while growing up. His family used to go down to the Sheridan Inn and have dinner just about every Sunday and they could see Buffalo Bill Cody’s signature on the hotel register a dozen or more times, in a glass case in the hotel lobby.
There was a ghost in that hotel, too. Or, so Tony had heard. He suspected that was why they weren’t allowed to go on the second floor; but they used to tell him and his brothers it was because of the failing structure of the inn. It looked fine to him, but it had been closed for years before they got there. Still, Tony liked the idea of a ghost better. So did his brother, Sammy.
That’s where their story began. In the lobby of the Sheridan Inn. His parents and his four other siblings had just finished dinner, and he and Sammy were wandering around the lobby. They told their Mom they needed to use the bathroom, but she was wise to them. She knew they liked to wander around, especially in the lobby, to look at all of the historical artifacts on display.
“Why not, Tony?” Sammy asked him. “Who’s going to be the wiser?”
Tony looked at him, looked over at the front counter - what used to be the front desk, but was now used for the hostess to welcome diners - then looked back at him and whispered, “But the girl is still over there at the desk, she’s gonna know.”
At that moment, the phone rang and the woman became engrossed in scheduling a reservation for dinner.
“She’s not looking now. Let’s go,” Sammy said, ducking under the velvet rope that marked the forbidden zone, and starting up the stairs.
Tony hesitated for a moment, checked the desk one last time before he tripped up the first step, fell under the rope, and crawled the first few steps before he regained his balance. He was certain the woman heard him, but he continued anyway. More afraid of what would happen when they got caught than he was of what they were going to find upstairs.
Tony saw Sam reach the second floor landing and turn to the right. When he reached the same landing and looked to his right, down the hallway, Sam was nowhere to be seen. Probably because the hallway was too dark to see more than five feet in front of him, but a scrape of a shoe and a click of a door pointed him in the direction of where to look. He could barely make out Sam’s outline against one of the rooms halfway down the hallway before he heard the screech of the door as Sam opened it.
He stopped suddenly, and Tony could see, from a light blue haze reflecting from the room, the glazed look in his brother’s eyes.
“What’s wrong, Sam?” Tony half spoke, half whispered.
“Shhh,” he replied, not moving his head the slightest bit.
When Tony approached Sam, he heard him breathing hard. This could have been from fear, but most likely from just running up the stairs and down the hallway. When Tony moved up next to Sam and looked into the room he was looking into, a stifled screech escaped his mouth.
In the center of the room was a bed, the sheets ruffled, half lying on the floor. Next to the bed were the comforter and an assortment of clothing. Tony’s mind was perplexed as to the difference between what was supposed to be up here, which was nothing, and why there were two bodies lying in the bed and clothes strewn everywhere. He wasn’t looking at ghosts.
There was a man, lying on his back. Naked except for the small portion of sheet tucked in between his legs. Lying next to him was a woman, her back to them, with fancy ladies’ undergarments on. The kind he and Sam had seen before in Dad’s girlie magazines. Black lace and garters. Red satin panties and bra. She was also wearing a bustier, which Tony found strange. Sam did, too. Stranger still was the knife she had a hold of sticking out of the man’s chest. The blood from the wound was beginning to coagulate and darken. Tony could tell the woman was breathing by the way her body moved, but the man was motionless.
“Ah, shit, Tony! What are we supposed to do? We shouldn’t be seeing this,” Sam whispered.
The woman must have heard him because she glanced over her shoulder without taking her hand off the knife, and looked at them with sunken eyes. Blood was caked on her lip and under her nose, and her eye was swollen shut. Without saying a word, she got up off the bed in one smooth motion, jerking the knife out of the man’s chest, the wound making a slight slurping sound, and started walking toward them.
Instead of turning and running, which Tony should have done, he just stood there and watched that half-naked woman walking toward him, a knife dangling from her side, dripping blood onto the hardwood floors, and all the while, he was thinking about how big her boobs were and how her bra and panties almost matched the color of the blood.
Tony, confused by the boner he was getting, felt Sam grab his arm as he hightailed it out of there.
“Let’s go, Tony!” he screamed.
Tony shook off his grasp, intently staring at the woman. She smiled at him. His jaw dropped. She kept walking toward him until she came to the door handle, which she grabbed and pushed, shutting the door and pushing him out of the room in the same motion. Sam grabbed his arm again and this time Tony followed as fast as his feet would take him.
Sam and Tony were quiet on the ride home, which was just as well. Their Dad had had his usual three beers at dinner and looked as though he was ready to blow up at the next person who said the slightest thing wrong. Stub, Susie, and Mary had been talking non-stop since they’d left the inn and Tony could tell it was eating at Dad.
Stub wasn’t really his name. The littlest brother. His name was Marvin, but they liked to call him Stub because he was born with one of his thumbs not fully formed. His left hand had, well, a stub on it for a thumb. Besides, what kind of name was Marvin, anyway?
They made it home without any yelling or swinging from the front seat of the car and Sam and Tony went straight upstairs to their room. They shared a room with Stub, too, but he was still little enough to get away with sleeping with Mom and Dad most nights. He didn’t spend much time in the boys’ room.
“You saw that, too, right? I wasn’t just dreaming the whole thing, right?” Sam asked. They were the first words he’d uttered since the door slammed on the second floor of the inn.
“What was that, anyway? It couldn’t have been real, right? But it looked so real. I mean, holy shit, Tony. What did we see?” His eyes were moving all over the place, like he’d been electrocuted.
Tony walked over to the bunk bed and sat on the bottom bunk. He looked up at Sam and said, “I don’t know, Sammy. I’ve thought about it all the way home and one of the things that strike me funny-like is the blue light. Did you happen to notice where the blue light was coming from?”
He took a deep breath, steadied his eyes, and then replied, “No, but now that you mention it, that was weird, also.”
“It must have been some kind of lamp or something, right?” Sam asked, and then looked down at the floor.
“And, what about the lady at the desk. She didn’t see us when we came back down the stairs, did she? She must have known we went up there. She must have heard the door slam. Why didn’t she say anything, Sam?”
“I didn’t even see her. I was so scared I just wanted to haul ass back to the table.”
“But, what if she knew what was going on upstairs? I mean, what if those people that we saw were the ghosts that …”
“If they were ghosts, Tony, how come we didn’t see right through them?” Sam asked while his eyes started moving everywhere again.
“If they weren’t ghosts, then what were they? Do you actually think that we walked in on two people just shortly after one of them stabbed the other one to death?” he snapped back.
Tony could tell he’d upset him, because Sam turned away from him and started to cry.
Tony got up from the bed and walked over to him, put his arm on his shoulder and said, “Hey, Sammy, it’s okay, all right? We’ll figure it out. No sweat.”
He shuddered as he took a breath and continued to cry.
Tony heard a knock at the door.
“Crap, Sam, someone’s at the door…”
“Hey guys, you in there?” Mom said as she opened the door and peeked around it. “You guys need to start getting ready…hey, what’s going on. Why is Sammy crying?” She glared at Tony and bounded across the room.
“Umm, it’s nothin’…” Tony tried to say.
“What the hell did you do to Sammy now, Anthony Augustus Nichols?”
She always called him by his full name when she was mad. Tony wasn’t too fond of his name no matter who said it, and when, but he really didn’t like it when it was said like that.
Tony shook his head and replied, “Nothing, Mom. I didn’t do nothing.”
She pointed to the bed. Tony knew that meant to walk away, sit on the bed, and be quiet.
“Re-all-y, Mom. He, did-n’t do an-y-thing,” Sam managed to say between sobs.
She looked right at Tony and said, “Then somebody better tell me what’s going on.”
Tony tried to make up a story about Sammy being scared by something he thought he saw in the closet, but from the minute he opened his mouth, he knew she didn’t believe him. And even though Sam didn’t clue her into what really upset his brother, she still grounded Tony for a week because she was positive he had done something to make his little brother cry.
Isn’t that always the way it is? The older brother gets blamed for everything. No matter what. If someone is crying, it must have been the oldest.
“What’d he do now?” Tony had heard many times coming from his Dad’s mouth while he was being blamed for something or other.
Granted, he deserved it sometimes. Hell, probably most of the time, but it never seemed to set well with him when he was blamed for something he didn’t do and no one believed him.
There Tony was, sitting in his room, looking out of the window at Sam and Stub playing some kind of game of Cowboys and Indians on the front lawn. It was day two of his grounding. Sam felt bad the first day and spent most of the afternoon with him in their room.
One day was the limit, apparently, for sympathy. Tony didn’t blame him, though. Why should he stay inside on a nice autumn afternoon? School’s out. There’s games to be played, and laughter to be shared, before dinner, before dark. Just not for Tony.
He had plenty of time to think about what happened Sunday night, though. He didn’t sleep too well that night. Partly because he was mad about the whole grounding thing, and partly because he kept having nightmares about a half-naked woman walking toward him, smiling at him, just before she stabbed him in the chest over and over again.
The scene played out in his sleep almost exactly as he’d seen it, except for the end. In the end, she always stabbed him and started to laugh. As Sammy ran away screaming, she would just keep stabbing him. Droplets of his blood flying off the silver blade of the knife, splattering on her cheeks. Laughing. Stabbing. Over and over. Her hand became more and more caked with blood with each plunge, until finally, Tony would begin to fall to the floor. Just before he hit, he would wake up with a start. Sweating, shivering, breathing heavy.
Once he calmed himself, he lay awake staring at the sag in the top bunk above him, wondering if that sag, otherwise known as Sammy, was having nightmares, too.
He would lie there and study the curves of the wire springs that held the bottom of the top bunk up. Imagining what would happen to him if they all broke at once and Sammy came thudding down on top of him. He would eventually fall asleep, not knowing when the exact moment between awake and asleep came. One moment, he was staring at the top bunk, the next he was asleep, and the process started all over again.
The next night wasn’t so bad. Tony only had one nightmare and slept most of the night. He was too tired to dream much from waking up repeatedly the night before.
“You’re dead! I shot you with my rifle!” he heard Stub say to Sam through the window. Sam looked up at Tony and shrugged.
“You cheater! I ain’t playing with no cheater,” Stub said as he stomped off toward the front porch.
“Now this is where Sam pleads with Stub to come back because we all know that Stub is going right in to Mom and tell on him,” Tony announced to the empty room as Sam started to do just that.
Tony watched as the scene unfolded in front of him. “And would you look at that! Another close call for Sammy Boy,” he said as Stub finally gave in, apparently on the condition they played some other game, as Tony noticed they started to play Cops and Robbers, instead of Cowboys and Indians.
“This portion of As the World Turns has been brought to you today by…oh, hang it all,” Tony said and fell back onto his bunk.
“So, why did you ground Tony, anyway, Lora?” Bill asked. “It didn’t seem to me like he did anything wrong.” He waited a moment for an answer. “And, you never told me…”
“I know I never told you, honey. They were up to something, those boys. Did you see them when they came back from running around the lobby at dinner on Sunday? They looked like they’d just seen, well, I don’t really know, but they sure looked like they’d been scared to death.”
“Really? Do you think so? I didn’t notice anything too different about their behavior...”
“Well, probably because you were having trouble looking through your beer goggles.”
“Hey, that’s not fair.”
“Wait, don’t tell me. It’s not fair because you only had three beers like you always do at dinner. You always act as if the three you had before we went to dinner didn’t count or something. Why is that, Bill?”
Bill looked up at his wife. His eyes squinted as the veins began to bulge on his forehead. “Now, I’m not going to sit here and take this, Lora. No wife of mine is going to treat me like that.”
“Like what, Bill? Like you deserve? And how many wives have you had, exactly?” She turned toward the sink and started to rinse the vegetables for dinner. “Honestly, sometimes I think you’re from another planet.”
“Well, that just tears it. Call me when dinner’s done, I’m going out to the garage.”
“And have a beer or two before…” she stopped mid-sentence and turned back around to face him. “Oh, fine. Just run off, Bill. Like you always do.” Lora said, and threw the dishrag she’d been washing the radishes with at him, missing by a good foot and a half.
“I will!” Bill replied, and walked out of the room.
“I swear I get so mad at him sometimes.” Lora said to herself. At least she thought she was alone when she said it.
“You get so mad at who, Momma?” Mary asked as she entered the room.
“Oh, no one, Mary. Don’t you worry about it. Would you help me by setting the table for dinner? And, could you pick up that rag for me on the floor, there?”
Puzzled, Mary did as she was told.
That someone is seeking revenge, and will get it in ways only realized in Howard's dreams. It isn't long after the accident before Howard starts having horrendous nightmares that are so realistic he begins to question his own sanity.
Everything he does from that point on will affect his life in ways he couldn't have imagined before the crash.
In the page-turning style of a contemporary horror novel, with the edge-of-your-seat suspense of a psychological thriller, and some unbridled wicked terror, Howard tries desperately to solve the mystery and stop the dreams before his family is completely and literally torn apart.
"Dream Sweet" is a little bit "Crime and Punishment," it's a little bit “Thinner,” it's a little bit “Nightmare on Elm Street,” and, it's a whole lot Terence Matedero.
Copyright © 2012 by TM Olson
All rights reserved
“We owe respect to the living; to the dead we owe only truth.”
“It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”
“All right, then, I'll go to hell.”
~ Mark Twain
A dark blue Honda Accord sped onto the interstate in front of me, nearly rammed me, and splashed an enormous fishtail onto my windshield. The rain had been falling all afternoon and the commute home was miserable. My wipers were running, but not fast enough to dispel the added water, so I reached down to the lower dash on my old Ford pickup and turned the wipers on high.
My Ford F-100 might have been 30 years old, but it only had 70,000 miles on it and it ran like the wind. My wife was constantly trying to get me to get rid of it, but I refused. I kept rationalizing to her that since I was driving something that wasn’t built from new, limited resources, then that alone offset the carbon footprint to some extent for the lousy gas mileage it got. She didn’t believe a word of it.
The windshield wiper on the driver’s side squawked loudly and began to flop back and forth. It took me a moment to realize that the rubber had peeled halfway off the base of it and the motion was making my visibility even worse.
“Why haven’t I changed those damn things yet?” I said to the empty seat next to me.
I turned them off and squinted in an effort to see through the water flowing all over the windshield.
“Goddammit all to hell,” were the last words out of my mouth before the Accord’s brake lights came on and the car quickly became a target for my cattle guard. I had just enough time to slam on the brakes before the rear of the Honda made contact with my truck.
Another reason my wife was always telling me to get rid of my truck was that it only had manual brakes and manual steering. You had to be pretty strong to even operate the thing. On every other occasion, I would have disagreed with her for some machismo reason, but at that very moment, I absolutely agreed with her.
The front end of the Ford connected with the Honda on just a slight enough angle to push it into a tailspin. Through the sheet of water on my windshield, I could see the driver trying to correct the spin and then overcorrecting into a sidespin in the other direction. It impacted a vehicle stopped in front of both of us on its passenger side, and the front cattle guard of my pickup slammed into the driver’s side of the Honda.
An eerily morphed scene unfolded in front of my eyes through the water on my windshield as I saw a woman’s head slam against the side window on impact and smash through the safety glass before it bounced back in the other direction and rolled back once again to settle on the doorframe.
I remembered little after that moment because the impact my head had made on the steering wheel knocked me unconscious.
When I woke up, I was looking at a woman’s head dangling out of the side window of the car in front of me. The steam from my radiator obscured the view of the blood running down the side of her car, but it appeared to be gushing from her neck.
With my mind in a haze, I tried to unhook my seatbelt, but it was jammed.
“My God, I have to get out of here,” I thought. I was frantically searching for something to help me when I remembered that I had a lock blade in the glove compartment, and I reached to get it.
I slashed the belt and tried the door. It opened with a hard push from my shoulder and I nearly toppled onto the wet road. Regaining my balance, I hurried around to the front of my truck to see what I could possibly do to help the woman.
“Ma’am, can you hear me? Are you all right?” I asked. I approached the car and lay on the hood as I looked in through the shattered front window of her car and saw that there was no way for me to reach her from there. The blood, I could see then, was surely coming from a gash in her neck.
I climbed on top of the car to see if I could reach her from there. As I reached out to lift her head from the door frame, I heard her moan with a wet gurgling sound.
“Ma’am, if you can hear me, I’m going to try to stop the blood coming from your neck,” I said.
I lifted her head with my left hand, placed my right hand around her neck and attempted to squelch to the blood flow with a hard squeeze. “I can’t seem to, wait, there we go, I think I got it,” I mumbled.
As I lay on the roof of her car, looking at my hand covered with blood, hoping that I was making some difference in stopping the blood flow, I heard the sound of skidding tires. I knew the skid didn’t come from something small. It most definitely came from something big.
The last thing I remembered before waking up in a hospital bed three days later was flying through the gray wet air. The semi that made the horrible skid smashed into the back of my pickup and pushed the front end of my truck through the Honda’s roof and over the top of it. The woman’s head popped like a melon when the weight of the truck finally settled on top of her, and I ended up on the road after flying off the car in front of the Honda and flipping onto the ground, only to land with all the force smacking my head against the blacktop.
“Howard, can you hear me?” I vaguely heard a familiar voice ask. A machine was beeping in the background.
I opened my eyes and could see a distorted object in front of me. It took me a moment to realize that the object was a person looking down at me. The light from the ceiling further obscured my vision.
“Howard, I can see your eyes, honey. Are you okay? Can you see me?”
I recognized the voice as being my wife, Donna’s, but my mind was lagging behind for any response. I couldn’t quite understand why I was lying in a bed in what looked like a hospital room, and why my head was pounding.
“Honey, you’ve been in an accident,” she said, as if reading my mind.
“Humuphrup,” I tried to speak but wasn’t forming words with the sounds coming from my throat.
“What, darling?” My wife looked puzzled.
I concentrated on making the words in my mind come out of my mouth as the correct sounds.
“Mum fe heed urps,” I managed to say.
“What, darling? I can’t understand you.”
“Mi ed urps!” I spat back at her. My frustration began to bloom.
“Oh, honey, please don’t get upset. Everything is going to be fine. Your head suffered a major trauma and you’ve been in and out of consciousness for the past 3 days,” Donna said, as she caressed my hand nearest to her.
I nodded my head and mumbled once again, “S, don, a , my, ed, hu, urts.”
“Oh, honey, I’m sorry, I understood you that time. I’m sure it’s horrible. I’ll go get the nurse, ‘kay?”
As she left the room, a scene from the accident flashed into my thoughts. I saw myself slamming on my brakes to avoid hitting a car, and I felt myself falling from the sky. Everything was very wet.
A noise penetrated my memory, too, that I just didn’t have any visual to relate it to. It was a popping sound. A soggy hollow popping sound. Like the sound your boot makes when you pull it out of the muck in a bog.
The door swung open and a slightly overweight nurse came in the room wearing pooh-bear scrubs. My wife trailed just behind her.
We had been married some 25 years and I still was awestruck by her beauty. I couldn‘t get enough of her long flowing brown hair, and her deep gray eyes. She smiled when she noticed me looking at her and the light from her smile penetrated my heart. For a tiny moment, everything was better.
“Mr. Cushman, it’s nice to see you awake, how are you feeling?” the nurse asked. “Your wife tells me that you are having pain in your head. I certainly can understand your head being painful. It usually is when you split it open.” She smiled. “But we’ll fix you up, okay?”
Pooh-bear and friends walked to the morphine machine that was next to my bed. After making a few beeping sounds with the buttons, the nurse continued, “Doctor Morrisey said that I could increase your morphine drip. But only a little. This ought to reduce your pain in just a few moments, Mr. Cushman. If it’s okay with you, I’m going to take a few vitals in the meantime.”
I nodded and turned toward my wife.
“Wha, appent to me?” I asked her, as I tried to point to the bandage on my head with my left arm that I just then realized was in a cast.
“What, darling…oh…you were in a horrible accident on your way home from work Tuesday. It was raining really hard and your truck ended up in a pileup on 270. Somehow, you ended up on the road in front of two cars that were in front of your truck, well, actually, one of them was under your truck. It’s the damnedest thing because no one can positively identify how you got there. A semi rear-ended you, and your truck ended up on top of a little car that was up against another car, and you were in front of all of that.”
“Yeah, honest. Your windshield was intact. Your seatbelt had been cut as if you escaped from it. We really don’t know how you ended up on the road. The police are pretty sure that you got out of your truck, but they aren’t very sure of what happened after that. There were no witnesses at the scene because the driver of the car that caused the accident was unconscious from a diabetic coma, the woman in the car under your truck was, well, squashed, and she died instantly, and the truck driver wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and ended up swan diving through the front window of his semi.” Donna looked at me for a moment before she asked, “Do you have any idea how you ended up in the road, honey?”
I hesitated for a moment. For the life of me I couldn’t remember what happened to me other than the few pieces I remembered a moment ago. Slamming on my brakes to avoid rear-ending a car in front of me, hitting the car, and flying through the air like I was falling from the sky.
“I, uh, reely don, t, know,” I replied. My speech was getting better the more I spoke, but it was still difficult for me. I could also feel the effects of the morphine which wasn’t helping my mental functioning at all. It definitely was helping my pain, though.
My lids began to droop. I wanted more sleep.
“You get some rest, darling.” Again, as if she read my mind. “It’ll all come back to you, I’m sure.”
Donna bent over the railing of my bed and kissed me on the forehead. “I was so worried about you, honey. I thought I’d lost you and that was the most horrible thing that could ever happen to me. I love you so much, darling. I can’t live…”
I didn’t hear the rest of what Donna said as my lids closed and my mind drifted off.
A tiny light was visible in the darkness. I tried to move toward it, but it seemed like the more I tried, the less I moved. The light became bigger and bigger like the old television sets used to do when they were shut off, only in reverse. As it continued to expand, I started to make out a scene within the light. It was a gray rain-soaked evening and I was looking at my truck in the distance. It looked like it was on fire. Smoke was coming out from under it on all sides. Only, it looked like it was moving in reverse.
The smoke ceased and I saw myself walk into the scene, only backwards. I got in my truck and backed away from the scene, only by then I knew that what I was looking at was the scene rewinding. As it did, a large blood-soaked head started to poke out of the spot where my truck had just been. It was contorted in an odd fashion just for a moment before it snapped back into a normal shape. The blood started flowing back into the head at all different spots and I became aware that it was a female. She started to say something, but I couldn’t understand her. She was speaking in reverse.
I continued in reverse until she was well out of sight and then I began to move forward towards a figure crossing the road. A different road that I had just been on. The closer I got to it; I realized that it, too, was a woman. At the precise moment that I intercepted her path, the truck stopped short and I flew through the windshield, only it didn’t seem to shatter. I landed on my feet, and the woman turned and spoke to me.
“Don’t let me die,” she said. “I don’t deserve to die.”
I looked at her and it didn’t appear like anything was wrong with her. Then, her eyes started to turn red and her lips followed. Blood tears trailed down her cheeks as her complexion turned stark white and large black roaches crawled out of her ears. When she opened her mouth, blood soaked maggots fell out of it.
“BUT YOU DO!” she screamed, spitting maggots in my face.
I awoke with a start. I could feel my heart thumping in my chest. I was wet with sweat. I looked around trying to remember where I was. The throbbing pain in my head clued me in.
~In the rural town of Brisbane, Idaho, Jim Billingsley thinks his nightmare is finally over when he puts his violent wife, Barbara, behind bars. But are his children, Michael and Sandra, really safe? Can he protect them from the monster that happens to be their mother? A life of drugs, alcohol, and physical and mental abuse say otherwise. Barbara wants her kids back, she wants revenge, and there’s little Jim can do about it.
~Mommy Monster is a definitive page-turning genre bender. Part horror, part psychological thriller, part edge-of-your-seat suspense. It surprises the reader at every turn, and culminates with an ending that gives the reader reason to cheer on Michael as he struggles to save his sister’s life. Emotionally draining, this family overcomes struggle after struggle and their lives are changed forever.